Private: Greene, communism, presidents

Because of his brief membership in the Communist party nearly 30 years earlier, Graham Greene was denied entry into the United States in the early 1950’s. New documents reveal that:

The state department recommended a waiver “based on the applicant’s prominence”, adding: “He is internationally known as a writer and from the philosophies expressed in his writings it is evident that he is anti-communist.”

“The department of state is of the opinion that to refuse a visa to this applicant would result in widespread publicity adverse to the interest of the United States.”

In correspondence that appears in a newly-published book, former President Ronald Reagan told Hugh Hefner, the publisher of Playboy, “that he believed communists in the United States did not deserve free speech.”

Michiko Kakutani calls Nigel Hamilton’s new biography of Bill Clinton a “pasted-together compendium of recycled news, familiar observations and base gossip,” and says it “represents a sleazy new low in the chronicling of presidential lives.”